Global Warming, the Bible, and the Politics of Guilt
By Reed Benson
As I gaze past my computer screen, out the icicle-framed window and across the ice encrusted field over which my angus cows painfully hobble to get to their meager meal of hay I set out for them this morning, my mind drifts to the latest broadside of global warming propaganda dispensed by the media. Can they be serious? The last eight weeks of winter has been the nastiest that we Missourians have experienced since 1989, the year I almost did not get married because the church heating system could not cope with the intense cold. At twenty degrees below zero, my wife-to-be’s diesel car would not start because the fuel solidified in the tank. As memorable as that cold snap was, I would have to say that the ice and snow we Missourians have been slipping over without letup for two months makes this winter excellent fodder for future storytelling. While the talking heads in New York, Washington, and Los Angeles drone on about how dangerously warm the planet is getting, we in the Midwest have been coping with enough solid ice on everything to crush roofs like ping-pong balls, knock out the electrical grid for weeks, and cancel enough days of public school that this year the end of the school year shindigs will be concurrent with Independence Day. Whereas glaciation was once a abstract idea that was only visualized in my mind when I watched Ice Age with my six-year-old son, I now have had a small taste of its effects first hand on everything around me for weeks.
Of course, if I use my personal experience of this year’s nasty winter here in Missouri to reject the idea of global warming I would be making a classic mistake in logic. Truth is much less a matter of my anecdotal experience, but rather a matter objective facts. Global warming is not a question of what is happening here, or there, or any single place, but what is happening everywhere, on average, over many years. In this respect, the talking heads from the coastal cities appear to be correct. The data that has been compiled from thousands of locations worldwide over recent decades does show a warming trend. The earth is, on average, 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was thirty years ago. I’m sure if I carefully explain to my miserable angus cows how their current situation is not characteristic of the world overall and how their Charolais cousins in France and their Brahman cousins in India are enjoying unusually balmy conditions, they will feel better.
What does global warming really mean? Does the fact that the earth is, on average, about a degree warmer than it was thirty years ago mean that a crisis is upon us? Is Al Gore right? Will the polar ice caps melt? Will the oceans rise, flooding lowland regions? Will droughts lead to catastrophic famines? Will hurricanes become fiercer? Will polar bears become extinct? Will mountain glaciers shrink, drying up rivers? Is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change right when their 2,500 scientists from 113 countries state that "history will judge us irresponsible" if we do not act? When the French President Jacques Chirac called for "an environmental and political revolution to save the planet," is he accurately assessing the situation?
Are there any biblical principles that can help evaluate the topic of global warming? Fortunately, there are. We need not swallow the tripe of the liberal media and their less-than-impartial scientists. A balanced evaluation of the scientific facts of global warming reveals a different picture. But even more importantly, a biblical world-view will give us the confidence to face the future of the world without fear and without guilt. Guilt. That word is important, as you will see, for global warming is less about science than it is about politics, the politics of guilt. Before we consider the real scientific facts of global warming, let us examine the false philosophical premises of the global warming enthusiasts and then counter them with true biblical principles.
Global Warming Assumption #1
The current warming trend of 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the last thirty years is a unique shift, never before seen in recorded human history. We are undergoing something that recorded history has never seen before
Biblical Truth: There is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 states: "The thing that hath been,it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time, which was before us." Periods of global warming have been recorded in human history, more notable than the one we are now experiencing. Consider what we know of the lands bordering the North Atlantic over the last two thousand years. When the Romans invaded Britain just before the time of Christ, they found a mild climate. Grapes of varieties suitable for producing wine were introduced and flourished for several hundred years. As the centuries passed, however, the climate cooled and these varieties could no longer be grown. By 600 AD, the climate in Britain under the Saxons was far colder. Then from 9000-1300, something remarkable occurred. The climate warmed again, enough for the Scandinavians to establish successful grazing colonies in southern Greenland. For two hundred years they flourished. But then the climate cooled again, the colonies languished, and finally failed. By the 1500s, the climate of the North Atlantic region was so chilly that the Thames River in London froze solid enough every winter that wagons crossed on the thick solid ice. Since then, however, the climate has warmed and the Thames never freezes over in the winter. Yet, it is still not as warm in the region as it was during the Roman period for wine-makers have been trying to introduce suitable grapes into England in recent years, but without much success for it is still too cool!
Honest historic evidence of what is called the Early Medieval Warm Period (900-1300) and the Little Ice Age (1400-1700) prove that the earth has its own natural rhythms of warming and cooling. The current trend is not out of the ordinary.
Several of the more radical computer models of global warming claim that the earth will get so warm that the cycle of seasons will cease. One suggests the earth’s surface will sizzle at 147 degrees, making life unbearable in vast regions. Could it get warm enough to knock the seasons out of kilter? According to the Bible, no. Consider what God told Noah after the flood: "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22). While limited climatic variation is possible from one decade to the next, the elimination of seasons on planet earth is not.
Global Warming Assumption #2
Any warming trend will bring only bad events such as oceans rising and the flooding of low areas, increased storm intensity, and massive droughts. Nothing good could possibly come from a small increase in earth’s average temperature.
Biblical Truth: Previous warming trends have made cool, marginal lands more habitable; for example, Greenland, as has been cited. A close examination of the Holy Land’s history reveals that the climate was different in ancient times. There was more timber, more rainfall, and it was generally much more fertile. Changes in climate in a given region have occurred before and the changes may be good or bad. A global warming trend could as likely be helpful as harmful. Many of the same people that are global warming enthusiasts were very recently overpopulation enthusiasts. They ought to be happy that the earth is getting warmer and making cold countries milder.
Global Warming Assumption #3
Man is causing the problem. Specifically, Western Civilization’s technical and industrial advances are the cause. Automobiles, electrical generation power plants, and factories are the main culprits. Simpler societies that live in harmony with nature such as the aboriginal tribes of Africa and Asia are more virtuous and are to be congratulated, and if possible, emulated.
Biblical Truth: Western man is not the cause of global warming. Global Warming enthusiasts over-rate man’s significance. The Bible is clear. We are relatively puny and insignificant. Job 8:9 states: "For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow." Job 25:6 reads: "How much less man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm?" Isaiah 40:22 declares: "It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers. . . ." Scripture repeatedly cautions against over-rating our own importance. In Acts we read of the fate of Herod, who fostered among the people the notion that he possessed great power: "And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. (Acts 12:22-23). The ungodly of our time are quick to suggest that man has reached such unusual power that we can change global climate patterns. What arrogance!
Regarding the notion that simple primitive societies are more virtuous, they are just regurgitating the foolish concept of the Noble Savage spawned by French Enlightenment Philosophers. Those arm-chair thinkers of the 1700s had never seen a savage, let alone a "noble savage." In a knee-jerk fashion they were just reacting to the imperfections of western civilization at whose hand, ironically, they lived very comfortable lives. Similarly, global warming enthusiasts off today have no real desire or intent to give up their car for a bicycle or their quiet electrically-powered appliances for Amish lamps or a jungle-dweller’s firepit. What they have done is embrace pantheism, the worship of the earth, as spoken of in Romans 1:25: "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator . . . ."
Global Warming Assumption #4
Global warming is the fault of Western society, especially America. Western man (i.e. Caucasians) should feel guilty for creating the climatic disaster of global warming. Western societies need to un-industrialize, getting rid of autos and electrical power plants. Our lifestyle and civilization must be dismantled to save the planet before it is too late. If that is not possible then we must be taxed heavily to create an incentive to change our evil habits.
Biblical Truth: Man has been called to take dominion of the earth and use the resources of the earth for the benefit of man and glory of God. No society has taken dominion of the earth in a more beneficial way than Western civilization of the last 500 years. The Bible reveals man’s call to rule the natural world: "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (Psalm 8:4-8). The global warming enthusiasts react vigorously against the idea that man is intrinsically of more value than any animal. In their feverish brains, man is the problem. If man lived more like animals (you know, in harmony with nature), that would be a more morally pleasing situation.
Global Warming Assumption #5
Catastrophes on a global scale cannot come from God. But they can come from man. God does not have the power (if he even exists) to judge the earth through a global calamity, such as the flood of Noah. Yet man can destroy the earth by driving too many automobiles!
Biblical Truth: The global warming crowd insists man is powerful enough to change the weather. But will they allow God to be big enough to change climate patterns? Absolutely not! To suggest that God might use weather to judge the earth will bring peals of laughter and howls of scorn. The global warming crowd has reduced God to non-existence regarding the earth He created from nothing, and elevated man to a state of all-powerfulness over the same. The truth is that God is the only one that can destroy what He created. By comparison, man is puny, but still has the duty to bring what he can under his control in an orderly system of civilization. Planet earth is a powerful, well-balanced wonder that has complex built-in systems that compensate for the relatively small-scale shenanigans of man. Peter wrote of the foolishness of the humanists who deny God’s ability to destroy what He created: "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers . . . For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men" (2 Peter 3:3,5-7). God has destroyed the earth once by water and will again by fire.
Man cannot destroy the earth. Those who have lived for years under the threat of nuclear war have heard it said repeatedly that man can destroy all life on earth many times over with our nuclear arsenals. Although few have challenged this premise, it is nonetheless false. It was merely the blatherings of liberals who thought that the United States should have disarmed itself in the face of the Soviet Union.
Of course, nuclear war would be tragic, probably kill millions, and damage large regions. But all life forms on the planet would not be destroyed. Nuclear winter would not kill all humans. Man, animals, and plants would survive on every continent. Winners and losers would emerge from the wreckage and life would go on. Earth’s ecosystems are far more durable than liberal humanists want to admit.
The global warming scenario is somewhat similar, only even less plausible. God cannot judge earth and destroy it, but man can, and is doing so right now! Stop driving that big SUV or you will end all life on the planet!
Global Warming Assumption #6
Future disasters in the Third World—monsoons, typhoons, droughts, famines, outbreaks of disease—will be the fault of America and the West because we did not change our bad habits and stop global warming. Since we are guilty of destroying the climate, our civilization should be responsible for the damage. Reparations (cash payments) should be remitted from America to the poor nations of the world for the harm that has been done to them through global warming. We are guilty of selfish lifestyle crimes that harm people in other parts of the world. Next time Bangladesh suffers a calamity, it is your fault!
Biblical Truth: Natural disasters have always been with us and always will. America and the West do more to help victims of natural calamities than anyone else in the world. Far from receiving blame for the disasters, we should receive thanks and accolades for our immense generosity in helping the unfortunates cope with them. Indeed, many of the disasters would be less destructive to human life if the Third World nations would be quicker in adopting Western values.
Far from the Western Christian nations causing natural disasters in the Third World, the Bible prophesies that God will allow the earth will to bring forth such calamities in order to eliminate ungodly cultures and give His Israelite remnant an improved chance of survival. Consider these words from Revelation 12:15-16: "And the Serpent [Satan] cast out of his mouth water as a flood [lots of other races] after the woman [Israel], that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth."
True Scientific Facts on Global Warming
Now that we have laid a foundation of biblical precepts regarding the topic of global warming in a general manner, we can consider a few of the scientific facts that will correct the falsehoods and half-truths promulgated by the global warming enthusiasts.
Fact #1: The earth appears to be 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than several decades ago. This is the only substantial piece of data the global warming enthusiasts have to support their theory. What they fail to tell us is that this is not out of the ordinary. Earth’s average temperature has gone up and down for centuries without calamity.
Fact #2: Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Global warming enthusiasts assume that it is tragic that there is a tiny bit more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than before. But this is a gas that has always been present in the atmosphere and is needed. Plants need carbon dioxide. In fact, they love it! Many scientists believe the extra carbon dioxide will produce more vegetative growth and bring the earth’s average temperature back down in time. The earth’s ecosystems are thus self-correcting, even when man throws things a little out of balance.
Fact #3: Mountain glaciers are not retreating in every area of the earth. In Scandinavia and the Andes they have advanced. Global warming enthusiasts cherry pick their data and highlight only the areas of glacial retreat.
Fact #4: Antarctica is not losing its ice sheet. While the ice sheet has retreated a small amount on eastern side of the continent, the ice sheet is actually thicker on the western side. Again, the liberals only tell you part of the story.
Fact #5: Polar bears are not on the verge of calamitous extinction. There are thirteen distinct populations of polar bears in Canada. Eleven of them are stable or increasing in numbers. Only two are shrinking. Guess which populations the liberal global warming enthusiasts cast the media’s attention?
Fact #6: The ice cap over the North Pole and Greenland is not dangerously shrinking. Yes, over the Arctic Ocean the ice cap is smaller than two decades ago, but not as small as it was in the 1930s. Neither is the Arctic Ocean as warm as it was in the 1930s. Furthermore, the interior ice cap of Greenland is gaining mass, not losing.
Fact #7: The much ballyhooed "hockey stick" climate model of Michael Mann that has predicted that global temperatures will spike out of control has been proven faulty. In 2006 the National Academy of Sciences and independent Canadian researchers tore apart the statistical foundation of the "hockey stick." Mann is receiving increasingly severe criticism for intentionally skewing his data.
Science or Politics?
Global warming is about politics, not scientific truth. The goal is to make the West, and Caucasians in particular, feel guilty for our technical success and comfortable lifestyle. It is meant to demoralize us and make us believe our culture and civilization are not worthy of protection and preservation. It is meant to squeeze money and wealth out of us in the form of aid and reparations to the Third World.
It is easy to obtain overwhelming majority opinions in favor of global warming in international organizations such as the United Nations because they are completely dominated by the multitudinous two-bit countries that hate America and West. If it makes America and the West look bad, countries like Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Yemen, Cameroon, Angola, Bolivia, Venezuela, etc. are for it. The United Nations, which is leading the way on the issue of global warming through its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is united in only one way—the member nations all hate America.
In summation, do not get flustered about the "scientific facts" that global warming enthusiasts toss about. They are cherry-picking their bits of information to deceive you into feeling guilty. Do not worry. In fifteen or twenty years the global warming scare will have passed and we will all chuckle about it in the same manner we do about the "Ice Age" that was being predicted in the 1970s. By then the liberals will have some other lame-brain scheme with which to pummel us. It’s all about trying to make us feel guilty about the civilization we have built. But don’t you believe them!